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Screenshot from HBO series The Deuce

Nonfiction Starter Pack: THE DEUCE

September 19, 2017

The Deuce premiered on HBO two weeks ahead of schedule. In its first episode, David Simon’s series-length paean to Times Square recreated 70s New York in all its grimy glory, with an ensemble of prostitutes, pimps, gamblers, cops, and James Franco, who plays twins. The show has done nothing to change my opinion that the 70s were…

Book covers: A Man Called Ove, Evicted, The Nest, To the Bright Edge of the World, Hidden Figures

Good Books for Book Groups: Bring Your Own Book

August 17, 2017

Every year, area clubs invariably ask us to suggest short books for holiday reading. There are many such titles, of course, but it can be hard, at this time of year, for members to get copies of holiday titles when they need them. But there are ways to work around the holiday crush. Some book clubs in our area have each…

Stephanie Powell and book cover: No One is Coming to Save UsWatts

SJP Pick Author Interview: Stephanie Powell Watts

August 11, 2017

In the wake of the exciting announcement of the first title selected for Book Club Central by Honorary Chair Sarah Jessica Parker, an avid reader and library supporter as well as an award-winning television and film actor, producer, and designer––No One is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts––Booklist Adult Books Editor Donna Seaman…

Book covers: No One is Coming to Save Us; Saint Monkey;Li

SJP Read-Alikes: Stephanie Powell Watts’ No One is Coming to Save Us

August 11, 2017

Watts’ debut novel, No One is Coming to Save Us, set in Pinewood, North Carolina, a small town decimated by the closing of formerly thriving furniture factories, is a deep and involving inquiry into family and place, racism and ambition, sorrow and determination. Watts considers what home truly means in this powerfully evocative improvisation on…

Author Rachel Khong and book cover: Goodbye, Vitamin

Hello, Rachel Khong: Talking with the Former Lucky Peach Editor about Her Debut Novel, GOODBYE, VITAMIN

July 26, 2017

Rachel Khong’s first novel, Goodbye, Vitamin, is a story of regular people dealing with irregular things. It dials down the looming menace of that which we fear the most for ourselves and our loved ones, while underlining just how extraordinary it is to be a person surrounded by other people. Vitamin‘s narrator, Ruth, moves home…

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14 Japanese Thrillers in Translation

July 14, 2017

Mysteries and thrillers make up a sizable portion of the Japanese literary market. Thanks to the international success of Keigo Higashino, Natsuo Kirino, and Miyuki Miyabe—and, just as importantly, their translators—contemporary Japanese crime fiction proliferates on Western shelves. To follow is a list of both novels and manga (because no one does graphic titles like…

Stephen King's IT Parade: Claw coming through sewer grate.

Stephen King’s IT Parade, Week 1: Is That a Book or a Bible?

June 29, 2017

INTRODUCTION First thing’s first: I first read IT circa 1987. I was 12 years old, which might strike the uninitiated as a tad young to tackle King’s gruesome, relentless, complicated, and just plain unwieldy horror epic (the 1986 printing was 1,138 pages). Fans, of course, will know that it was the perfect time to read…

Joe Louis Monument in Detroit(large fist punching

Making Sense of a New America: A Reading List

June 23, 2017

Books help us decipher our accelerated, ever-changing world, in which many aspects of American life are in flux. All of the titles below, whether they offer clarifying facts or imaginative interpretations, are sure to spark avid discussions. Nonfiction These thought-provoking works of narrative nonfiction, memoir, and a graphic novel in essays portray places in decline…

Screenshot: Travis Kalanick

Further Reading: Troublesome CEOs

June 22, 2017

After a 2013 memo about sexual harassment was leaked to the press, newspapers at home and abroad have been speculating on whether or not Uber CEO Travis Kalanik—no stranger to controversy—might lose his job. Kalanik has been accused of poisoning company culture with laddish (some might say horribly sexist) behavior. Fictional CEOs are no strangers to trouble.…

Screenshot from A Hanmaid's Tale television show

Aunt Lydia’s Forbidden Bookshelf: Three Books to Read After The Handmaid’s Tale

June 22, 2017

The first season of The Handmaid’s Tale wrapped up last night. If you’re already missing the object of your obsession, you can always read (or reread) Margaret Atwood’s book of the same name, since this dystopian nightmare fuel for feminists and anyone who appreciates not living in a totalitarian faith-based state has been keeping people up at night…

HOW TO BOOK CLUB

Find A Book Club

Joining a book club can seem impossible if you don’t know where to look but you’ll find like-minded book lovers at the following tried-and-tested places. BOOK CLUBS IRL The Library Always the best place for aspiring book clubbers to start. Head to the reference desk and ask the person there about book clubs she’s sure…

Find Books for a Book Club

There’s a question I always ask whenever I visit a book club: “What’s the best book you’ve ever discussed?” This is a surefire way to start a lively discussion, one that always begins with the books the group has enjoyed and inevitably transitions to those they haven’t. Eventually, the group will conclude that the best…

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